I attended a fantastic wedding last week. While I was there doing myself a knee injury on the dance floor, Billy Idol — who was safely supported by two knees presumably long replaced — was rocking the stage in Queenstown and thoroughly disappointing the audience by not singing White Wedding.
Rumour has it that song was struck off the set list after no one in his entourage could find a way to rhyme "Hey little sister, shotgun — (specifically one which is not semi-automatic, nor capable of being used with a detachable magazine or having a non-detachable tubular magazine capable of holding more than five cartridges)".
Detractors lamented his powerful vocals of old, songs of old, and presumably, his (and their own) being so old. Which really leaves only one good question — what on Earth did you expect of the poor guy?
Idol, at 64, is still touring the world and performing shows, regardless of how high-energy they may or may not be.
You can't really ask much more of him than that: at the same age, my own grandfather was — how to put it nicely? — dead.
Nor should you think little of the effort it must take to perform on stage for hours at a time without serious medical events sprouting like ear hairs.
This was proven by myself on the dance floor, and reinforced shortly thereafter by Greg the yellow Wiggle, who died on (the side of the ) stage at a "reunion" charity fundraiser for the Australian bushfires.
His death was fortunately temporary, thanks to a nurse in the audience who started CPR while the rest of the Wiggles sang Wake up Greg, citing how well it had worked with Jeff in the past.
No, I jest — in reality, they returned to the stage and performed Hot Potato while the lifesaving work commenced side of stage, which shows the level of commitment past stars presumably have to demonstrate for a crowd to be satisfied with their modern-day performances.
It just isn't easy on the body like it used to be.
Review: Billy Idol left Auckland wanting more, more, more
There are reasons we don't have "all-time greats" rugby matches, where we cobble together a rehash of, say, the 1987 All Blacks for an old times' sake match against another pack of almost 60-year-old men.
For a start the medical bills would outweigh the ticket sales, and because — as they're well aware themselves — their greatest moments on the field are in the past.
And they were some fantastic moments as well, but to purse your lips, lower your brow and ponder why David Kirk can no longer break three tackles to score in a World Cup final is as wise as to ponder why Billy Idol can no longer tear a stage apart.
Some things remain unchanged though: he's still a heartthrob, having given away free tickets for his Australian shows to emergency personnel who have been fighting fires, and auctioning off meet and greet opportunities to raise funds for bushfire relief charities.
At the wedding, I pondered the correct balance of past, present, and future. The celebrant told the story of how the adoring couple met, while the bride and groom talked of a future together.
The best man gave a brilliant speech, without the customary embarrassing stories of the past, while the groom spoke of how he felt in that moment.
The DJ played hits spanning decades.
Multiple generations crowded in for a photo of the day, after the bride and groom had their shots taken.
Everything in balance as it should be, with a mix of past, present and future. Best not to fixate on the past, least of all criticise in comparison.
My money is on the fact that in 40 years time, the groom won't pick up the frame from his dresser, turn to his wife, point at the wedding day photo and say "jeez, you used to be so good-looking".